ALBURY Thunder star Willie Heta proved a revelation in his new role at full-back when he scored a hat-trick of tries in yesterday’s 36-18 win over Cootamundra.
Heta was the difference in a hard-fought contest against the Thunder’s traditional bogey side.
Yesterday’s win was just the second time in 30 years that Albury has beaten Cootamundra at their home ground.
The Bulldogs scored first but the Thunder eventually wrested back control of the contest and led 20-12 at half-time.
Albury shot clear in the second half, with Mitch Seaton scoring the sealing try in the dying stages.
Thunder coach Josh Cale was delighted with the result.
“It’s always pretty tough up there,” Cale said.
“We knew they would lift — they’ve been a bit of a bogey side for us.
“They always seem to be up for the challenge against us, so it was pleasing to finish it off really well.
“We’ll take more out of that than had we won easily.”
While Heta was the standout, Lou Goodwin also performed strongly in the victory.
“Everyone went pretty well,” Cale said.
“Willie was great at the back.”
Although Cale was satisfied with the efforts of his team, he said there was undoubtedly still plenty to work on ahead of this week’s clash with winless Tumut.
The Blues copped a 40-12 hiding from second-placed Southcity yesterday.
The Thunder remain on top of the table after 14 rounds.
“There were a few things we didn’t do so well, but the best things is the players knew that,” Cale said.
“Now, it’s a matter of fixing it.
“We really hung in well.”
In a major boost for the Thunder, star centre Chris Seaton will return on Sunday after missing yesterday’s clash to the Australasian Superbike Championships.